Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A time to Intervene

Read Acts 9.

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, the zeal of Saul had intensified.  He knew that some believers in "the Way" were fleeing outside of Judea.  He received arrest warrants from the high priest to pursue and apprehend Christians in Damascus, Syria.  Imprisonment or death would be the outcome of a swift Temple trial.

1. But Jesus intervened. (vv.3-9)
Surely, Saul reasoned his anger was righteous.  He thought he was doing God a favor.  Do not miss the question Jesus asked?  He did not asked why Saul persecuted Christians but why Saul was persecuting "Me" (Jesus)?  When the followers of Christ are under attack for their faith, Jesus takes it personally.

The Lord revealed Himself with a blinding light and a voice from heaven.  This event and subsequent days softened Saul's heart, began to retrain his mind, took away the spiritual blindness, and opened his ears to the truth.  Who would trust him?  Perhaps, he was pretending so he could infiltrate the believers.

2. But Ananias obediently went to him. (vv.10-26)
He embraced Saul and baptized him.  Being out of the country provided Saul an opportunity to safely preach Jesus in the synagogues of Damascus for a while.  When the Temple authorities got word of Saul's changed life, they sent a team to assassinate him.  Boldly, Saul returned to Jerusalem and openly proclaimed his new faith.  The disciples there were afraid of him.

3. But Barnabas befriended him.  (vv.27-30)
He even stood up for Saul before the Apostles.  Because Paul was from Tarsus, he could speak to the Greek-speaking Jews with credibility.  The pressure against him, however, continued to mount.  The brothers sent him to safety back to Tarsus.

With the number one persecutor of Christians now a believer in Jesus, the church meeting throughout Israel finally experienced a time of peace.

4. But peace did not mean the church relaxed. (v.31)
They grew spiritually.  They lived obediently to the Lord.  The Holy Spirit comforted them.  Their numbers multiplied.

A timely intervention by the Lord or a friend is a good thing.  We all need it occasionally and we all know someone who needs us to come alongside them at a strategic time in their life.

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